For many years, scientists believed that Mars could potentially be the next “home” of humanity, as there seemed to be preconditions for this to happen. A new discovery brings this scenario even closer.
A team of scientists has spotted huge ice water reserves just below the surface of the planet at eight different points. These stocks, which are easy to harness and be used for either drinking or converting to oxygen, will greatly aid future colonization of the neighboring planet.
The researchers, led by geologist Colin Dundee Center Astrogeologias the US Geological Survey, who made a notice published in the journal «Science», analyzed photos and other data collected by the satellite Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of NASA, orbiting Mars since 2006.
The analysis of the data brought to light eight areas with steep slopes, up to 55 degrees, where the erosion has exposed a series of buried glaciers. Some of them begin just one to two meters below the Martian surface of the rocks and dust and reach a depth of at least 100 meters.
These points are located in mid-latitudes, about 55 to 58 degrees north and south of the Martian Equator (the equivalent of Scotland’s position or South America’s “nose” on Earth), ie in areas with easy access, far from the more inaccessible poles, where there is also plenty of water in the form of ice.
“It is surprising that exposed ice has been found on the surface of these locations in mid-latitudes, which are usually covered by a layer of dust or rheology,” said Dandas. The astronauts would go to these locations only with a bucket and a shovel and get all the water they need,” said researcher Shane Mern of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory of the University of Arizona.
The scientists already knew that Mars had underground ice water, almost completely clean. However, new data for the first time give such a detailed picture of these stocks.
The ice seems to have been formed relatively recently, probably after the fall of snow, as there are not many craters on the surface above them. In addition, they show visible stratification, which will help to understand the timeless changes of the climate on the “red” planet.
It is estimated that nearly one-third of Mars surface has ice just below its surface. Generally, in the future, the red planet may change color and come much closer to Earth’s, so it can become habitable.